Latest Sightings July 2020

Click on the link to send in your sightings to help us monitor Emm Brook wildlife.This type of ‘citizen science’ allows us to get a clearer picture of what is happening along the Emm.

For previous months sightings see Archive

The "Area Seen" refers to the 11 sections that the Brook has been split into for monitoring purposes (see Wildlife page under Monitoring ).

For what you can expect to see on the Emm this month, click here July

All sightings unless stated are from personal observations by Eddie Napper

Click on any picture to see a larger image

What is this life if full of care , we have no time to stand and stare. Leisure - W. H. Davies.


What is the Dawn Chorus

30/07/20 A Buzzard was effortlessly riding the thermals over Area 7A and several Skylark were singing up high. A juvenile Grey Heron was stood on the banks of the Ashridge Stream and the male Yellowhammer was still singing .

29/07/20 Area 10 again and a Hobby was over the Car Park field and a juvenile Green Woodpecker was at the back of the field. 4 Green Sandpiper were on the scrape at Lavells Lake , all seen by Bob Bennett. Meanwhile Fraser Cottingtom had 2 Lesser Whitethroat on the west side of the Car Park field and an Oystercatcher was seen flying over towards Black Swan Lake.

28/07/20 Fraser Cottington was out in Area 10 at the car park field and reports a Hobby over behind the Emm Brook going east , closely followed by a Peregrine over, 2 Lesser Whitethroat one on west side by old broken gate the second right of the big Hawthorn, a Whitethroat was near the Lesser’s, a Willow Warbler was heard in subsong.Garden Warbler, Blackcap and Chiffchaf were also present .In Area 7A a Male Yellowhammer was heard singing.

26/07/20  Hobby Sat in a tree bordering the Wet Meadow in Area 10 a Hobby was seen and phtographed by Geoff Emmett.

25/07/20 In Area 10 a Cetti’s Warbler was heard by the old Golf Course near the Dinton Activity Centre by Fraser Cottington.

24/07/20  Green Sandpiper 4 Green Sandpiper were on the scrape at Lavells Lake this morning.

23/07/20 Over the fields in Area 1 near Ludgove School a Swallow was feeding and a House Martin was flying near the school.

21/07/20  Grey Heron and Cormorrant A lunch time visit to Heathlake in Area 1 was much as expected, Mallard and Black-headed Gull were waiting for their next loaf of bread,Coot, Moorhen and Great crested Grebe were also on the water. On the island a Grey Heron and Cormorrant were sharing a branch.

20/07/20 7 Black-headed Gull were seen flying West over his Area 4 house by Paul Bright Thomas.

19/07/20  Mallard and Ducklings In Area 4 a Mallard with 4 ducklings was moving up the river.

18/07/20 In the hedges around the Car park field in Area 10 Blackcap and Chiffchaff were both heard.

16/07/20  Yellowhammer In Area 7A the male Yellowhammer is still singing this afternoon to whoever wants to listen and a  Grey Wagtail female Grey Wagtail touched down briefly on an Area 4 garden fence.

14/07/20  Green Woodpecker An early morning Green Woodpecker was out and about in Area 7A making the most of a good vantage point.  Great spotted Woodpecker Obviously a popular tree as it was also visited by a Great spotted Woodpecker , Jackdaw and a Wood Pigeon .

13/07/20  Jay  In Area 10 a Jay was guarding the exit to the Car Park field.

12/07/20 A walk around Area 8 and a male Chiffchaff was singing along the river, Dunnock were basking in the sunshine, Skylark was heard singing and 2 Linnet were seen. In Area 7A a male Yellowhammer was heard singing along the Ashridge Stream by Paul O'Neill.

11/07/20 In Area 7 a Raven was heard cronking over Eamer Crescent seen by Paul O'Neill.

10/07/20  Female Blackcap  In Area 7 at lunchtime a very vocal Song Thrush was singing from deep within the trees, a female Blackcap was feeding in the bushes and a juvenile Chiffchaff appeared briefly.

09/07/20  Swift  15 Swift were feeding over the beach at the Dinton Activity Centre at Black Swan Lake in Area 10.

08/07/20  Common Sandpiper  On a dreary,drizzly and dank early morning visit to Area 10 and Dinton Pastures a Common Sandpiper was on the beach at the Dinton Activity Centre before flying across the Emm to the Golf Course and back.  Grey Wagtail  2 Grey Wagtail were on the pontoon and the Egyptian Goose gosling's are down to 1.

07/07/20  Male Yellowhammer  The lovelorn male Yellowhammer was singing again in the ealy morning sunshine in Area 7A along with a Green Woodpecker .

06/07/20  Red Kite  In Area 10 where the Emm Brook meets the Loddon at the Green Bridge, 2 Kingfisher are regularly being seen early mornings by Fraser Cottington. In Area 5 a Red Kite was having a bit of trouble with 2 Magpie.

04/07/20 A male Kestrel was seen on the telephone cables in Area 7A between hunting forays across Eldridge Park.

03/07/20  Male Greenfinch  A singing male Greenfinch was seen in the carpark field in Area 10 by Geoff Emmett.

02/07/20  Green Woodpecker  On the beach in Area 10 next to Dinton Activity Centre a pair of Egyptian Goose were keeping a watchfull eye on their 3 goslings. A Redshank was also seen in the same area by Tim James. In the Brook it's self a probable nesting Moorhen was seen keeping close to the bankside vegetation.

01/07/20 In Area 5 a male Chiffchaff was heard calling near Dragonfly Bridge. They can also be heard in most of the other areas along the Emm.


30/07/20 Marbled White The weather recently has not been that conducive to butterflies, periods of overcast days with rain interspersed with the odd day of sun however today was very warm indeed. On the wing in Area 7A were Gatekeeper Celastrina argiolus , Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina , Marbled White Melanargia galathea , Common Blue Polyommatus icarus and Peacock Aglais io .Red-tailed Bumblebee Also enjoying the warm weather was a nectering Red-tailed Bumblebee Bombus lapidarius .

25/07/20 The moth trap was out overnight in Area 7A. With over 100 moths of 30 species caught, more to follow later .Following inspection and recording/photographing anything caught is released.

23/07/20 My first Large White Pieris brassicae butterfly of the year was seen in Area 3.

21/07/20 Female Common Darter At Heathlake in Area 1, several Emperor Dragonfly Anax imperator were hawking over the water. Meanwhile resting on the sunlit vegetation in the woods was a female Common Darter Sympetrum striolatum . This is Dragonfly Week. You can find out more about Dragonfly week on the British Dragonfly Society website. Dragonfly Week 2020

19/07/20  Pellucid Fly Sitting on Bramble in Area 5 was a Pellucid Fly Volucella pellucens this is one of the largest flies in Britain and fairly distinctive.

18/07/20  Roesel's bush-cricket Back to the Car Park field in Area 10 this morning with the sweep net. Caught was a female Roesel's bush-cricket Metrioptera roeselii its scimitar shaped ovipositer (egg laying tube) can be clearly seen .The song of the Roesel's bush-cricket is long, monotonous and mechanical. It can be heard in rough grassland, scrub and damp meadows , along with its Nike like swoosh it is fairly easy to identify. Not an Insect but still one of my favourites is the  Wasp Spider  Wasp Spider Argiope bruennichi .The wasp spider is a very large, colourful spider that is a recent arrival in the UK from the continent and has slowly spread over the south of England.This is a female as it has the stripes. Fox Moth caterpillar  Also seen on the field gate was what I believe to be a caterpillar of Fox Moth Macrothylacia Rubi .

16/07/20  Meadow Grasshopper Out with the sweep net at lunch time at the Car Park field in Area 10. Unfortunately not a lot to report. Highlight was a Meadow Grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus .In the Area 4 balancing pond, were numerous  Small Skipper Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris and Ringlet Celastrina argiolus with several Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus seen by Paul Hopcraft.

13/07/20  Brown Argus Another day another new butterfly species. Seen in Area 10 in the Car Park field was a Brown Argus Aricia Agestis .

12/07/20  Gatekeeper  In Area 8 at Old Forest Meadows all the usual butterfly suspects were seen,with the addition of the first Gatekeeper Celastrina argiolus of the year, bringing the years total so far to 18 species seen alonsie the Emm Brook.Between Friday 17 July and Sunday 9 August choose a place to spot butterflies and moths. Watch for 15 minutes. Then record which species you see. You can find out more about the Big Butterfly Count on their website. Big Butterfly Count . Flying ants were seen flying around Area 7A in the afternoon.

11/07/20  Ringlet  In Area 5 my first Ringlet Celastrina argiolus butterfly of the year was seen amongst the grass.With the sun shining Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis were very visible. The harlequin ladybird is also known as the Asian ladybird. Harlequin Ladybird   Harlequin Ladybird They vary massively in colours and patterns from one insect to the next. Harlequin ladybirds can be yellow, orange, red or black with as many as 21 spots of an opposing colour. These ladybirds are around 7-8mm long, which means they are a lot larger than your standard garden variety.They were first discovered in Essex in 2004 and can now be found all the way to Scotland, such has been there success. They had been used in Europe for pest control.

10/07/20  Volucella zonaria  I popped into Area 7 at lunchtime for only 30 minutes and didnt really get past the first Bramble bush. Feeding on the Bramble flowers in the sunshine were Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus , Small White Pieris rapae , Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta , Comma Polygonia c-album  Dasysyrphus albostriatus and Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina butterflies. Numerous Honey Bee Apis mellifera and unidentified Bumblebees. The Hoverflies Dasysyrphus albostriatus and  Blue- tailed Damselfly Volucella zonaria a Hornet mimic and a Blue- tailed Damselfly Ischnura elegans were also seen.

09/07/20  Small Copper In Area 7A the first Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas Butterfly of the year was seen. Bringing the total to 16 species for the year.

06/07/20  Holly Blue In Area 5 by Dragonfly Bridge a Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus was refueling on the nectar from a flowering Bramble.

04/07/20  Rhagonycha fulva On the Umbellifers on the Old Golf course was the common red soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva Adults frequent flowers, especially Apiaceae (umbels), Asteraceae (thistles etc.) and Senecio jacobaea (ragwort) but they may be found on a very wide variety of plants. They fly readily and are quick to find new flowers. Adults are often seen mating as this is a prolonged affair, hence the vernacular name of "Bonking Beetle".

03/07/20  Large Skipper A very tatty looking Large Skipper Ochlodes sylvanus was in the grass in the Area 10 Car Park field.  14 Spot ladybird  On the riverside vegetation by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 was a 14 Spot ladybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata

01/07/20  Riband Wave  Seen in Area 5 by the pond was a Riband Wave Idaea aversata . These are very common moths and come readily to light.

Plants/ Trees

30/07/20 Common chicory  In the grassy Meadows in Area 7A were several Common chicory Cichorium intybus .

26/07/20 Evening Primrose  In Area 5 an Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis is growing out of the roadside kerb .

19/07/20  Blackberries   It looks as if its going to be a good year for Blackberries Rubus fruticosus along the Emm .

11/07/20  Elder   The berries of the Elder Sambucus nigra are out but not turned purple yet.

04/07/20  Creeping cinquefoil   On the Old Golf Course in Area 10 is Creeping cinquefoil Potentilla reptans an invasive but pretty weed.

03/07/20  Common Burdock  Amongst the riverside vegetation by Kingfisher Bridge in Area 4 is Common Burdock Arctium minus .Natures Velcro. In 1948, Swiss engineer and amateur mountaineer George de Mestral went hiking in the woods with his dog. Upon arriving back at his home, he took note of the burrs that clung to his clothes and he wondered if such an idea could be useful in commercial application. He studied a burr under a microscope only to discover that they were covered in tiny hooks, which allowed them to grab onto clothes and fur that brushed in passing. After more than eight years of research and work, he created what is known now today as Velcro, a combination of the words “velvet” and “crochet.” Made up of two strips of fabric, one covered in thousands of tiny hooks and the other with thousands of tiny loops, the materials gripped together firmly while still allowing easy release.


Amphibians and Reptiles


24/07/20  Roe Deer   A Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus was on the small Island in the middle of Lavells Lake in Area 10 . I assume that it swam there.

21/07/20 What appears to be a family group (1 Adult and 2 cubs) of Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen running through Brookside in Area 5 at 03:30 this morning.(Dustbin Day)

20/07/20 An Otter Lutra lutra was reported in the Emm Brook in Area 10 by the Green Bridge this morning by Mark Lauri .This follows on from other recent sightings this month in the nearby River Loddon and Lea Farm Gravel Pit.

13/07/20  Roe Deer   Seen again in Area 4 was a young Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus .

08/07/20 At 03:00 a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes was seen running through Brookside in Area 5.

06/07/20  Roe Deer   Resting early morning in Area 4 was a Roe Deer Capreolus capreolus .

05/07/20 A further 2 Red Fox Vulpes vulpes cub's were seen in riverside vegetation, this time in Area 7 this morning by Fran Stickler.

01/07/20 A Red Fox Vulpes vulpes cub was seen walking along the banks of the Emm in Area 4 by Malcolm Dunmore.

Fish/ Crustaceans

12/07/20 In the river at Toutley Bridge in Area 7 a large shoal of unidentified fish were swimming back and forth under the bridge.


09/07/20  Black Slug  Following overnight rain in Area 7A a Black Slug Arion ater agg. was seen moving across the path . Whilst Arion ater is a very common slug, it belongs to a species complex that can only be 100% differentiated by dissecting the genitalia so it is usual to record them as part of this aggregate group. There are three species in this complex (Arion ater group): Arion ater, A. rufus and A. vulgaris.